When I was a kid I had a book called Mysteries of the Unexplained that contained AMAZING BUT TRUE! stories aimed at stirring the imagination, eliciting a sense of wonder and prolonging the bed-wetting experience by at least three years. I’d huddle beneath the covers with my flashlight and read about strange psychic phenomena documented by real scientists, physicists, private investigators and the occasional freaked-out paranormal expert who, at the end of the story, usually abandoned his profession to become a plumber:
Though the book was mostly about ghosts, aliens, strange disappearances and creepy folklore (…so stand alone in the dark, if you dare. Hold a mirror and repeat the words “Sassafras Sally” And prepare to be slapped by a pair of wet tea bags), it was spontaneous human combustion that really got to me. I think it’s because, in my mind, ghosts, aliens, strange disappearance and folklore could all be avoided by exercising a little caution.
Spot an alien spaceship? Run.
Worried about Sassafras Sally? Introduce her to Chi tea.
Concerned about taking a cruise through the Bermuda Triangle?
Go to Disneyland and settle for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” instead.
But burst into flames in the middle of Mrs. Frump’s sixth-grade classroom, and chances are you’d be reduced to a pair of smoking sneakers long before you could acquire a hall pass and make it to a water source. Continue reading